Economic development agency launches new app to spouse employers with talent

Whanganui city’s economic development agency wants to see locals swiping right on a new matchmaking app set up to pair Whanganui businesses with skilled workers.

Economic development agency Whanganui & Partners has launched a new app to connect Whanganui businesses and skilled professionals
Photo: SUPPLIED

Talent Connect is the first app of its kind in Whanganui, developed by Whanganui & Partners to connect employers and professionals with the skills they need or have to offer.

Whanganui & Partners, which is funded and follows a strategic direction set by Whanganui District Council, said the app’s best feature is that it is exclusive to Whanganui professionals.

Strategic lead capability Lou Tyson Walker said the skills-based app aims to help professionals find their next business partner, employee or gig.

“It works much the same as the dating app Tinder,” Tyson Walker said.

Whanganui & Partners strategic lead capability Lou Tyson Walker says 50 businesses and professionals have already signed up

Whanganui & Partners strategic lead capability Lou Tyson Walker says 50 businesses and professionals have already signed up
Photo: LDR/ Moana Ellis

“You swipe left, swipe right – it’s a similar thing but for connecting employers with prospective employees or people wanting jobs done.

“It could be, for example, I’ve started a new company and I want a website designed. I can log onto the app and look for a website designer to do a bit of contract work. And then I start swiping, based on the specific skills and experience I need.

“It can be used in the same way if you’re looking for a trade – you can see the type of experience, say, a builder has, and whether they’re a good fit for the project.

“Not only that, but we’ve got a lot of people in the community who are wanting a change of career or they’ve got skills that could be used in another industry.

“For example, they may have been building for years or welding, but they’ve never done boat building. They’ve got those transferrable skills that would allow them to look into, say, marine engineering or other industries.”

The free app was developed in conjunction with Whanganui-based IT specialists New Zealand Computing Solutions. It went live last week after a soft launch with internal stakeholders.

About 50 Whanganui businesses and professionals have already signed up and the platform is expected to grow quickly.

Tyson Walker said many businesses were looking to fill vacancies in the fast-growing Whanganui job market.

“We know that Whanganui businesses are looking for talent at the moment and we know that we have a population of professionals with transferable skillsets to offer the business community.

“If you drive down Heads Road you can see the signs all over the place looking for workers. I went into a café the other day and the manager was saying ‘I’ve got to get back to you about that app’.”

“Everyone I have been speaking to seems to be quite excited about it. Just that initial connection with businesses to say, hey look, these are my skills, can I connect with you, can I have a conversation or a kōrero about how I could possibly match your business and what I need to be able to do to get my foot in the door and explore options with your business.”

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